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"During the the fast 50km I had cramps in my stomach all the time. Immediately after the race I rushed to the first bus to find a toilet. I want to thank the people of Veranclassic that I could get in there so quickly."

Photo: Sirotti




04.03.2015 @ 20:19 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Etixx - Quick-Step rider Gianni Meersman finished 2nd to Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Soudal) in a small group sprint finale at 201.2km Le Samyn on Wednesday. Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) was 3rd.


Stijn Vandenbergh entered the final cobbled section with about 3km to go with such a high pace the select small group immediately gained a gap on the rest of the field. The peloton shattered trying to keep up with the speed. The race came down to four Etixx - Quick-Step, two Cofidis, and two Lotto-Soudal riders to decide the race as they kept their advantage upon exiting the cobbles for the final 1.5km of the race.


The final sprint came down to Yves Lampaert leading out Meersman on the left side. But Boeckmans got the jump on the leadout and passed Meersman on the right side. Meersman swung far right and tried to catch Boeckmans, but couldn't before the line.


Etixx - Quick-Step did much of the work on the front the entire day, chasing down breakaways and forcing splits before eventually taking control of the race with 5 riders on the front in the final kilometers before the crucial last cobbled section.


Lampaert finished 5th, and Vandenbergh 7th.


"Maybe I should have started my sprint a bit earlier," Meersman told Het Nieuwsblad. "But I can live with this second place.


"During the the fast 50km I had cramps in my stomach all the time. Immediately after the race I rushed to the first bus to find a toilet. I want to thank the people of Veranclassic that I could get in there so quickly.


"In the sprint I was stopped in a professional manner but in the end, there is not much to say about it. I have no problem with it. Kris is a deserved winner. Hats off to him, he is clearly in good shape. I am too, but today I didn't win. Of course I am a bit disappointed because my team has worked hard and I did not finish it off but it was a difficult race and in the end I was broken. Especially on that last pave sector, I felt heavy so I can live with that second place even though I admit I'd rather have won."


"We did what we planned bringing Gianni to the sprint," sports director Rik Van Slycke said. "The tactic was executed really well. The young guys did a good job the entire day, really big effort for all of them. The last cobblestone sector on the last lap, we forced the action a little bit and we formed the select group of four riders out of eight. Our guys pulled for Gianni and he was there, as was our goal. But every sprint is a different story from the rest of the race. Today Boeckmans was stronger than Gianni. We missed the victory today but the team effort for the race was strong. Now we look for a few opportunities immediately with Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen."



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